The Weekly Insight – April 10

10th Apr 2017

This Week in Review

Last Week from Texas Insight

  • Health and Human Services Commission: Committee Substitute for SB1 and SB1. We lay out the items of appropriation according to the House and Senate SB1 bills, and highlight where they agree and disagree. Items that are not in agreement will be conference committee items.
  • This is the first of three posts in a series dedicated to analyzing publicly-available data on Texas healthcare. The first in the series covers the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality’s Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which has been referred to in past Texas Insight reports. Exploring these sources for data that can be used to document health care realities here in Texas, and is useful in formulating solutions for the current challenges Texas faces in effectively providing health care to residents.

Healthcare Policy News

  • Popularity of the ACA, or Obamacare, is at an all-time high, according to a new Gallup Poll that found 55% of Americans now support the healthcare law. This is the first majority approval rate since Gallup asked in November 2012.
  • While ACA’s popularity surges, the GOP is setting forth their second attempt at repeal and replace – this time removing protections for the well-known “essential benefits.” States would be allowed to decide on the individual mandate and these essential benefits’ protections for themselves, which could also signal the reintroduction of high risk pools. Insurers could start offering plans that do not provide maternal health care, mental health services, substance use disorder services, etc. and can exclude the chronically ill and people with preexisting conditions like cancer or allergies. High risk pools will offer to fill the gap, at the price of higher premiums, higher deductibles, and lifetime and annual limits for those who need healthcare most.
  • Even if the repeal and replace bill does not pass, the GOP still controls Obamacare and could take actions to change coverage. They are even discussing changes that could influence employment-based policies and Medicare coverage for Seniors.
  • Texas legislators are considering a bill that would create a commission tasked with determining the fate of Texas’ 13 state-supported living centers by 2018. For families who rely on these centers, this is a scary proposition.
  • Hundreds of Texans rallied at the Texas Capitol on Wednesday to express their support of Planned Parenthood and encourage state legislators not to block Planned Parenthood from offering reproductive health services.
  • Austin Forum held an event with presenter Dr. Mini Kahlon from Dell Medical School last Wednesday, centered on “The Role of Technology in Transforming Healthcare.” To see Dr. Kahlon’s slides, or learn more about Austin Forum, click here.